It's Open Season on Spurrier - Again

By Davis, Barker; Foldesy, Jody | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 11, 1997 | Go to article overview

It's Open Season on Spurrier - Again


Davis, Barker, Foldesy, Jody, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Apparently a new $2 million contract can't protect Steve Spurrier from the same old line of questioning. Addressing his many critics yesterday, Florida's coach was asked about running up the score last week when the Gators (2-0) set a modern school scoring record in trouncing Central Michigan 82-6.

"We did run it up in the first half, I'll admit that," Spurrier said. "We tried to score every time we touched it, and we put 56 points on the board. But after we rapid-fired at them in the first half, we played everybody in the second half and our fifth-team offense was scoring on them. People can say what they want about us and padding the score. They've been criticizing me for eight years."

After a shaky three-interception performance in his first start against Southern Mississippi, sophomore quarterback Doug Johnson erupted against the Chippewas, tying a school record with seven first-half touchdown tosses. Still, Spurrier largely dismissed Johnson's performance, pointing to Central Michigan's defensive deficiencies.

"Doug definitely played better, but our opposition was really not that talented a team," said Spurrier, who has just over a week to prepare his second-ranked Gators for an SEC East showdown with No. 4 Tennessee (2-0) on Sept. 20. "What can I say? It was just a mismatch. I'll admit that. I don't particularly like games like that, but that's the way the schedule was laid out."

Why does Florida set up a schedule that includes the lowly likes of Central Michigan?

"We'd love to go up to Michigan or Penn State or Ohio State, but with our eight-game conference schedule, we only have three open dates available, and one of those is against Florida State," Spurrier said. "So it just makes sense for us to bring a couple of teams in here, sell the place out and get everybody excited about Gator football with a couple of big wins."

THE WOLVERINES WAY - No. 14 Michigan opens college football's most brutal schedule by hosting No. 8 Colorado (1-0) this weekend. The Wolverines play six ranked teams this season, including a full Big Ten slate and out-of-conference games against Colorado and No. 12 Notre Dame (Sept. 27).

"Well, I like to play good competition," said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr in a teleconference Tuesday, "but I think next year with the [Bowl] Alliance changing, that dictates that we need to take a look here in terms of scheduling. . . . Here at Michigan, we're not afraid of anybody, but this is a real test right off the bat. We tried to move our game against Baylor (Sept. 20) up in front of this Colorado game, but it didn't work out. That's all right. We'll take the field Saturday plenty fresh and with no excuses."

MIXIN' UP THE BEEF - When Southwestern Louisiana plays Texas Tech this weekend, the nation's second-biggest offensive line will be visiting the home of the third-biggest. (Wisconsin has the biggest.) Each line is a testament to the increasingly malleable parameters within which the human body can grow.

The visiting Ragin' Cajuns (0-2) boast Keith Ware, a 6-foot-2, 380-pound brick nicknamed "Puff." Ware, the left guard, lines up next to Anthony Clement, a 6-7, 350-pound tackle.

The Red Raiders (0-1), meanwhile, are anchored by redshirt freshman Jonathan Gray, a 6-5, 363-pound left tackle with hair as colored as his history. Gray didn't even play his senior year of high school and was recruited by Tech coach Spike Dykes in a shopping mall. Last season he dyed his hair blond. This spring, it was orange. During two-a-days, it was fire-red.

Dykes discussed his experience against a player that size, which occurred when he was a defensive lineman at Brady High School in Ballinger, Texas.

"I grabbed hold while he dragged me down the field," Dykes said. "I just held on for dear life."

TRIPLE VISION - Georgia coach Jim Donnan has experienced a very unusual problem this season: He keeps confusing three of his sophomores. …

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